“Let your joy be in your journey — not in some distant goal.”
Now that’s been a common misconception, hasn’t it?
“Finish this term and then enjoy! Finish this year, and then enjoy! Finish college, and then life’s yours! Get a job, and then no worries! After retirement, nothing to care about! You can then sit back carefree and enjoy everything you’ve done in life!” Sounds familiar?
A supposed goal lures everyone, and there’s always another step to cross after that, never allowing us to truly ‘attain’ joy, which is why we need to find it in the process and nowhere else. While having joy set as a goal can act as a mode of determination, it isn’t a construct that we need to achieve. It’s something every one of us deserves.
For a good patch since third grade, I have always been told to use joy as synonymous with ‘elated,’ ‘over the moon,’ ‘on seventh heaven,’ and such words, but I now believe it’s one step beyond those words. Those might depict emotions, but being joyous is a state that we all deserve. We can find joy in the little things, and it can act as a ripple effect in spreading joy over a long period and to people we surround ourselves with as well.
A few weeks ago, my cyclist of a mother rammed into a few iron rods by the side of the road. People have phoned her, come to meet her, and she’s only said two things. One, how no one in the family blamed her for going out despite our forewarnings and saying that it was ‘karma,’ and second was how for the first 45 minutes of her endeavour, she had the time of her life. This shows that she found joy in her cycling, and a dozen stitches to the forehead and arm were clearly beside the point. All that mattered was that she felt happy keeping herself fit even in strenuous lockdown times, and the outcome was of little to no effect. The point is if she would have listened to us and waited to go and exercise only when she was diagnosed with health problems, the effects of the accident could have been permanent. Postponing her medium of joy would have only resulted in a worse outcome and feeling trapped by being held back. This is just one such example of what could have happened if we tend to delay the sense of joy and is only the tip of the iceberg.
Joy, like happiness, is a somewhat optimistic feeling. Then why do we feel the need to ‘earn’ it rather than just claim what should rightfully be ours? Because everything is good in moderation, and people tend to go overboard with feeling joyous, putting themselves, and others in harm’s way. On the other end of the spectrum, an inferiority complex in many causes people to feel deserving of it, constantly delaying a feeling that would benefit them.
It is said that there are two ways of spreading light — to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. The same applies to joy. If you can’t afford to free yourself from the hardships, the least you can do is be there for someone and pass on the joy. Take out time to smile at someone as they walk past you, greet the strangers next to you on the train, thank the waiters, doorkeepers, drivers and the countless beings that go unnoticed as we pass by them every day. You giving less than a fraction of a second to someone might change the course of their day. As I said, every time you do something, it causes a ripple effect that can affect everyone around you. You might have your problems and are holding back from being happy, but your action can light a spark in someone else’s life.
We shouldn’t rely on worldly objects, signs or omens to find an excuse to be happy. It should come from within. After all, it’s not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes us joyous.
Instead of regretting all you lack, celebrate all you’ve got, and you crack the code to finding the good in life.
Don’t postpone joy, come what may.